Advent Conspiracy This Year

Many of you might have questions of what an Advent Conspiracy Christmas looks like. We spend less $$, give relationally, and give the $$ we would have spent on ourselves and our families to initiatives that will help the poor around the globe.

For us, it doesn't look much different than most of the Christmases that we have spent as a married couple. We've never had much extra income... in fact, we rarely have extra money floating about. So, we've always spent less money and more time. About 3 years ago, I began making the majority of gifts that we give. This year we made the majority of our gifts. We also decided that having a tree was a waste of money and time. We still decorated the house...but our focus was somewhere else.

Here's a breakdown of our Christmas spending:

Pair of mittens (Total price: $6)
Kitchen counter (Total price: $4)
Superhero masks (Total price: $5)
Recycled Nintendo DS (Total price: $0)
2 dresses and bows (Total price: $3)
Couch caddies (Total price: $5)
CD of pictures (Total price: $0)
Bible cover (Total price: $6)
Fandango certificate (Total price: $15)

Add postage and our total Christmas expense is around $50. Thinking that on average we would normally spend about $20/person - we spent around $250 less than the normal household...and I think that is a conservative estimate.

We were able to give much more than we thought possible to both our church and to the Advent conspiracy initiative. And at no point during the Christmas season did I miss pretty packages, a Christmas tree, or going to the mall.

Christmas Traditions

Matt and I had a great Christmas here in Portland. We enjoyed a few old traditions and made a few new ones. One really awesome thing that has come out of living 3,000 miles away from our family (and subsequently, our families' traditions) is that we had the opportunity to really look at our lil' twosome and decide which traditions we wanted to begin for ourselves and the children to come.

We started our Christmas before Christmas by celebrating the advent. We began this tradition last year. Here is our advent "wreath."

Several years ago our church here in Portland, Imago Dei, began a movement called Advent Conspiracy. Our Pastor Rick McKinley wrote a book on the subject. I would recommend that you all check it out - it's pretty amazing. This year, we tried to make all gifts that we gave fit into the model of being relational. I'll write another post that describes what we gave and how we went about it.

Christmas eve was filled with tradition. Matt decided that Christmas eve needed to begin with breakfast at 5am. So, we went to IHOP, ate breakfast, and just talked for hours. Granted, we talk everyday, but this was really amazing. We also made calls to Matt's family to participate in their tradition of "Christmas Eve gift." I spent the day making ginger cookies and finishing up some Christmas projects for my family. That evening, we read from Luke, prayed, and sang 12 days of Christmas...along with a ton of other Christmas carols. We then enjoyed coffee and cookies, as we opened our Christmas Eve gift from Uncle Lloyd and Aunt Sue.

Christmas morning we woke up, and proceeded to our pile of gifts. We then decided to open one gift, make our Christmas breakfast, and call the families. Christmas brunch has been a tradition for the past 4 years that we have been married. In Athens, we shared this time with our friends, Heather and Randy - we missed them a lot this year.

After Christmas breakfast we finished opening our pile of presents - we are continually humbled by the generosity of our families. We've tried to get them on board with Advent Conspiracy...we've succeeded with my sister and her family....but my momma's love language is gift-giving. For her, this is a relational act - and conservative compared to some past Christmases.

After breakfast we watched a few Christmas movies and enjoyed each others' company. We made a wonderful, vegetarian dinner (consisting of a lot of side dishes), watched more movies, had a wonderful time of prayer, and went to bed.


Catching Up

Now that school is out for Christmas - and after several hints from family and friends who read the blog - I've decided to catch up on everything that I've been doing during the Fall until now.

I've been sewing. In October, I finally got around to making my 5yo nephew and my 1yo niece their birthday presents - several months late. I set my heart on a super-hero cape for the newest big boy and a reversible, yet stylish smock for the lovely little miss.

I tend to always doubt my abilities - but I was pretty proud of these little projects. They helped take my mind off of everything was going on during those few days.

Side 1

Side 2

Detail of criss-cross back

Uncle M modeling Big Boy's Superhero cape.
Big Boy's name begins with an "S' too - so, we kept it.


Don't Cry

I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much. ~Mother Teresa

Yesterday was a hard day. It didn't start out that way. It was a really great day. I woke up, felt pretty when I headed off to school, didn't spill coffee on myself in the car, enjoyed my students, went to a baby shower for a girl at worke, really enjoyed time with my colleagues, and went home to a GREAT husband.

Then I got this email. It stated that the pilot materials that I was told I would be using with my students this year were due - packed up, etc. in the office next Monday. Which means that starting next Monday, I will again be teaching with no materials. This sent me reeling. It shouldn't have. I should be more like the person who built his house on a rock....a little flooding shouldn't wreck my house. But it did.

I ran to the bathroom and sat in the bath and just cried. I mean CRIED. I think everything that has happened over the past year just came rushing back to me...and I was overwhelmed. I questioned God and cried to Him and asked Him "why?" several times. I asked about my babies, I asked about leaving my home, my friends, my family. I asked about why my husband still doesn't have a job. I pretty much interrogated God....and was met with silence.

In my heart, even as I yelled - I could see an image of my sweet heavenly Father holding me as I threw this tantrum. Hushing my cries and telling me it was okay. Eventually the still, soft voice whispered to me what I had known all along.

You were never promised comfort and "happiness."

You are extremely blessed.

You are being selfish.

God must love me a lot. He brought me to a place physically and emotionally where I could learn and grow...if I has stayed in Athens and been "happy" I don't think I would have ever been ready or willing for whatever God has in store for Matt and me. Praise be to God.


At Home...

Thank you to everyone for your love and prayers. We miscarried tonight at home - which is what we were hoping for. I was able to see sweet baby #2. It was hard, but healing.

I'm going to try and post the story of Baby #2 later this week. Every baby needs a story.

Much love and Many thanks,

-L & M


I don't know how it feels...

I was on the phone with my sister this morning - as I am most mornings while driving to school. She was asking me how I was doing...and I explained how I was feeling. This is when my sister said something that I had never thought of before. She said, "I just don't know how it feels."

So, how does it feel to lose a baby that you've tried really hard for and never met...it feels bad. I wish I could be more poetic, but it's seriously stinks. It's not fun. It hurts and it's hard.

But back to the question...how does it feel?

You sit. You just stay still and try not to move a muscle. You give a faint smile to your hubs and just wait for a heartbeat...knowing you're not going to hear one. You try to put everyone around you at ease - knowing they know and are somehow now incredibly awkward and not as talkative as before.

You question.My first response was, "God, I paid attention last time. I thought I got it. I thought I learned everything you needed me to learn from this." Enter my awesome husband who responded, "Lyd, I think He's teaching me something this time."

You get slightly angry and bitter and yes, envious. You wonder "why me?" Then you realize that you wouldn't wish this on anyone else."

You cry. You cry. You cry.

You reflect and try to figure out what you did wrong THIS time.

You wait for the baby to come - praying it will come on its own. Praying for the opportunity to say "Hello. I love you. Good-bye."

You plan...for the next baby. You plan for the future. You plan on God's goodness.

You praise God.


I've been bad at writing

Let me tell you what we have been up to since my last post:

I was able to get a job here in Portland.
Praise God.
Matt passed the bar.
Praise God.
My job is going smoothly.
Praise God.
We were able to rent the sweetest little house in the SE.
Praise God.
We are becoming more involved in our church.
Praise God.
We found out we were pregnant in early August.
Praise God.
We saw the beautiful heartbeat twice.
Praise God.
We couldn't find a heartbeat today & our precious baby #2 went home.
Praise God.

A lot of things become hard to understand when you find yourself in a situation such as this. You might question God or His will or intentions. I get that. I've been there - twice. But - my God is a good God. He's a good Father. He is growing me and shaping me and He has a plan. I praise God even in mourning - knowing that my babies will see Him in His full majesty before I do and never know pain and sorrow. One day perhaps I'll even hold them - but I trust them to be in the arms of my Savior for all eternity.

"The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away; Blessed be the name of the Lord."


Preparing Myself

This has certainly been a season of preparation. Hubs and I prepared for the move, we prepared ourselves to be in a new place, Hubs prepared for the BAR and is currently preparing himself for the results, we spent (and are spending) lots of time preparing pieces of paper that tell others how prepared we are to take on paying jobs, and now, I prepare for what my be a very difficult ear of teaching.

I don't say this to shed a dark light on my upcoming professional year, but to thank God that always before a trying and difficult season, He gives us a season of preparation - whether we are aware of it or not. I knew that my summer would be extra long this year...and didn't know that I was going to need all those weeks in order to get my head together - not to mention a jazillion lesson plans and course syllabi and articulated curriculae. More so, emotionally, I didn't think I needed this time to just sit and be, to go on adventures with my hubby, and to reflect on what was.

I miss home, my town, my students, my school, church, friends, family. I miss them more each day. I miss knowing fully and being fully known - there is nothing greater as that mimics how God knows each of us - fully. However, it's harmful (not to mention painful) to live looking backwards, right? It didn't lead to a favorable end for Lot's wife and it will do none of us favors now.

If you find yourself looking back to a time before the move, before the accident, before that fateful conversation, before the baby just know that God has you in today. He holds you in today. He will comfort you today - but He wants you to be where you are looking towards Him.



The last month and a half has certainly been a time of adjustment. I haven't written on the blog or even called many people (besides family) simply because I've been in a season of avoidance...disguised as laziness. Who knows?

I thought that there would be plenty of stuff to keep me busy here in Portland. I had a house to decorate and settle, jobs to find, a husband to cook for and serve while studying for the bar - not to mention a city to explore. That's not really how it played out.

I arrived and nested for maybe a week. Then, we realized that it wasn't going to be that smart getting too settled - as we would move into another apartment or house in a year or less. So, then, I was just left in a house while hubster went to class. I went on walks with Carter-dog for a while, then I just wanted to sleep, stay in bed, and dream away whatever was bothering me.

I've been lonely. I've been sad about our lost baby. I've been mourning the loss of physical nearness to my friends and family. It's been a hard adjustment. Sometimes (before the job offer) I've even thought of how my death would benefit my husband in that he would get the life insurance and I would be with my baby.

Hubster thinks it's serious spiritual attack - as I'm not one prone to self harm. I think I might agree. God has been good and has kept many promises to us - so, even though things are still intermittently difficult - my perspective is improving. I thank God for the many blessings he daily bestows an know that this is simply another growing season in my life. I know God will use all my experiences in the future. I'm excited to see how he works.


Praying for the hubster during the BAR exam

As you all know, the hubs has been preparing for the BAR for the past few months. It has been the most grueling task that he has ever been faced with and I will not hide the fact that he has been completely overwhelmed by it. My husband is wonderful and I have full faith in his abilities, but I have no doubt that right now he is going through a major trial and turning point in his life.

The BAR will be given over a two day period, each day consisting of about 10 hours of testing. The OR BAR will have 2 sections: the first is standard for all states & focuses on federal law and the second is specific to OR laws and consists of 9-10 essays.

I have felt strongly about covering my husband in prayer during the days preceding the exam and the exam days themselves. This is where I am calling on all of you. I am organizing a 68 hour prayer "vigil" for my hubster during his BAR exam. It seems like a lot of time, I know - so, if you can sign up for a 30 minute slot for one day or if you want to pray at a specific time each day, please do. If you have insomnia, then pick a late/early shift....if you'll be up with the baby at 4am - pick that slot. Whatever works for your personal schedule.

Let me know if you would like to join with me in prayer by posting a comment or emailing me (remember to include time and date chosen).

Blessings and Thanks,


I heart coffee - and so does my friend, Missy

So, many of you know that the hub unit and I are shamelessly addicted to caffeine - in fact, I'm writing this from a coffee shop in the middle of the day. We most often partake of our little vice via coffee, espresso, or chocolate. We drink the occasional soda (coke), but we are most loyal to a nice hot cup of JOE.

We roast and grind our own coffee fresh
. We have numerous machines and gadgets that enable us to constantly imbibe good quality morning bliss. The hubs even worked for a month with a bathroom scale on our counter top to insure the "perfect" tamp for his espresso. He's good.

I've been more adventurous
in my love for coffee and it's uses - I digress.

My good friend, Missy, is having a contest on her blog, Miss Moose Designs, giving away 2 reusable coffee sleeved made from vintage fabric. She's a pretty awesome and awfully crafty lady. Check it out. Her blog is not only full of beautiful crafts and funny stories, but she'll also mention her love affair with an early cup of coffee during Sesame Street. I read her blog daily and I think most of you will enjoy her very real and raw way of putting herself and her life out there.


Georgians + Oregon =

Check out our new blog for updates about our travels without my personal twist on them. (Okay, so there is my personal twist, but I'm forbidden to talk about "girly" stuff)

Basement Living

Our adventure out West has required us to give up a few luxuries. Namely, our own home. We left our wonderful 1700 sq. ft. brick sanctuary behind and have replaced it with...an 800 sq. ft. basement apartment and a 5x10 storage unit. This has not been an easy transition. We lived in a smallish duplex our first year of married life and did just fine. One room served as a storage space and we had a quiet neighbor, so no real inconveniences popped up.

If you new our brick sanctuary well, you were aware of the ample amount of storage space. It was like the previous owner knew we would need lots of places to stick hardly ever used belongings...and we did. We crammed that bad boy full of mementos, trinkets, tchotchkes , and junk. We cleaned house a great deal before moving cross country - we were ahead of the game.

The we arrived at our basement dwelling....it's small.

Hubster and my Pops came out first with a giant Penske truck. Some of our furniture actually made it into the apartment, some went to Goodwill, and some went to the storage unit. Our lovely red living room set was sent away never to be seen again - I miss my couch. The reason, of course, is the couldn't fit down the narrow hallway leading to the basement. I digress.

Anyhow, now that we have very little space, we have become super streamlined in what we use and it's kind of nifty. There is an IKEA like 8 minutes from our house - so, it's dangerous, but inspiring. Hopefully we'll make the space work. The noise might be another issue all together.

We live below a large family of six. I have nothing against large families, my sister has a family of 7, but I wouldn't want to live underneath them - you know what I'm saying? We don't need alarms - we wake when the kiddos do. We know when it's dinner time - b/c there's a bit of a stampede to the dining room and then they proceed to move heavy furniture around the house for an hour or two. Just kidding. It is loud and for the most part we have adjusted.

Carter Dog seems to enjoy having children who want to play with him all the time - and we don't mind having a few little dog sitters either. The family is also SUPER nice and goes to our church, which outshines any small inconvenience. It's pretty much communal living at it's best. It'll be interesting to see how things pan out as hub's studies for the Oregon BAR get more (if that's possible) intense, but we'll cross that bridge when it comes.

My sis and mom have been asking me to post pictures and I honestly would, but it's kind of gross and cluttered and I am ashamed. Maybe if enough people post requesting photos, I'll do it out of peer pressure.


A Long Journey

Well. 3000 miles is a long way. I have so much to write about it and so much more to post, but I think I'm still processing it all. It was a good, safe, and fun trip. Now, the reality has set in and I'm pretty much crying all the time - although that could be the hormones too.

Thanks to all who are keeping up...sorry for the little break I took from posting. I'll try to be more purposeful and disciplined in my writing once we actually have the internet in our home.

For more of our writings about this really neat adventure, check out the blog that my hubster started: The Georgia-gonians.


Music Monday

Today I am very tired and my thoughts are going much deeper than is comfortable, and still I am numb to it all. I pray that God is at work. I pray that He is moving in my life. I pray that He is near. I pray and wait.


A New Reading Plan

I set the goal to finish reading the Bible in its entirety by the time I was well...older. I nearly met my goal - plowing through the Bible in large portions, gulping it down like it was bread and I was starving (or gluttonous). I'll go with starving in this simile. Well, I say "I nearly met my goal" in that my reading schedule met a bit of a hiccup in our miscarriage. It threw me for a loop and I failed to read during the few days when I probably needed it most. I did finish - if just a few days off "schedule."

Since then, my reading has been scattered and unfocused and I miss the structure & Life that a daily reading brought to my life. So, I shall begin again. This time, I will not read straight through, but a portion out of each of the main "sections" each week for 52 weeks. Sunday will be the Epistles, Monday - The Law, Tuesday - History, Wednesday - Psalms, Thursday - Poetry, Friday - Prophecy, and Saturday - The Gospel.

I'm very excited and cannot wait to see what the Lord reveals to me through His Word during this particular season and reading.

Happy Sunday.

I also set the goal of making a dress...which was delayed due to the fact that at the time - I was "growing" with our little Poppyseed. Well, I'm going to reclaim that goal and get started immediately...or as immediately as a cross-country move, job hunt, and house on the market will permit.


Finished: Apron with a dash of sass

I finished this apron about 2 weeks ago. As you know, we're trying to sell our house and I have to say that I felt really awkward about the possibility of folks looking into my office and onto my dress-less dress form. So, I did what any rational home-seller would do and made something pretty for it to wear.

Of course, this project has been in my head for about a year, but a naked dress-form is good motivation. I made my pattern and finished it in a day. So feminine, so pretty, so fun...and as always, I learned a ton. I will definitely tweak the pattern next-go-round. I'm contemplating adding a pocket with my initial...but I might just save that for my next project.

Stay-tuned for the pattern and a tutorial!


Swine Flu

As many of you have probably already heard, in recent days several countries' governments, including Mexico, the U.S., and Canada, have taken measures to prevent the spread of a new strain of swine flu - the U.S. having moved stockpiles of the flu vaccine to different areas of the country. This move comes as a reaction to nearly 20 deaths in Mexico having been (confirmed) caused by the virus. There are still another 80 deaths in question.

Several cases have been found in parts of the U.S. and Canada, mainly among persons returning from trips in Mexico. Swine flu is initially contracted from pigs themselves, but can be spread from person to person like any other form of flu. This particular strain of swine flu is causing alarm as it has been fatal to peoples between the ages of 25-45, a demographic that is not usually labeled "high-risk."

  1. Get your vitamins on - you need to make sure your immune system is well-prepared.
  2. Wash your hands often and thoroughly.
  3. Keep your hands CLEAN and away from your face.
  4. Use tissues (as oppose to your hand or a cloth handkerchief).
  5. Routinely clean clothing and surfaces of your home - including childrens' toys.
  6. Use proper cough etiquette - I teach this to my students at school.
  7. Stay away from sick people and avoid large groups of people.
  8. Use a water bottle instead of the water fountain.
  9. Know the symptoms of Swine flu and seek medical attention if they present themselves.
  10. If you didn't get a flu vaccine already this year, get one.

While there is no reason to panic, it certainly doesn't hurt to take preventative measures to keep ourselves and those around us healthy.

Please, keep Mexico (being the hardest hit population) in your prayers, as well as all those who are suffering either through sickness or the loss of a loved one.


Homemade Beauty - skincare

I've been dabbling in homemade skincare for a while now. I'll usually try something out once or twice and then let it fall by the wayside. However, in the current cash crunch that most of the world is feeling, I felt that now more than ever is a great time to save some some dough and be more eco-conscious at the same time.

I've been unhappy with my skincare regime for the past few months years. In high school I received compliments on my complexion all the time - and well, its been a while since high school and I'm afraid this ol' girl is starting to show some signs of wear and tear. Understand all, I'm not in this to receive compliments or feed my own vanity - it's more an effort to take care of what I have.

So, this week's wonder product: HONEY. I think honey has really been underestimated for some time now. I loved it as a kid - en mis sopapillas y el pan toastado; however when I entered my double digits, honey went underground. Refined, white, sugar became mode. I'm happy to say that honey is making a comeback. Not only is it a great healthy, natural sweetener that can be used in all sorts of culinary creativity, it is a wonderful beauty essential.

I've heard whispers of the magnificence of honey for the skin, but have never thought the rumors worthy of smearing that sticky stuff on my face. It's worth it, ladies. I've been doing a honey mask nightly for the past three days (as a bit of a "gitty-up and go" for my skin) and I'm in love with the results. My skin seems brighter, softer, and a wee bit tighter.

Simple Honey Masque:
1. Open your pores with a warm compress.
2. Apply a thin coat of honey to your face - even around your eyes.
3. Let it do i's thing for 30 minutes.
4. Rinse with warm water.
5. follow with a few splashes of cold H2O to close those pores up.

Organic honey is best, but non-organic brands will work as well - just make sure it's real honey. Enjoy your home facials ladies (& gentleman).


This is for you, Abby from OK

A few weeks ago, I got my guest room in order. For the first time in the three years that we have been living in this house, the room had a theme and an identity beyond "the extra bed is in there...along with a bunch of junk." I chose to use a slightly shabby chic motif. Of course, to go completely to the shabby chic side of things, there would be no dark woods, everything would be white or pastel in color, and there would certainly be window treatments and beautifully adorned walls. I, as we are moving, neither have that kind of time nor cash motivation to do so...I will call this room "Shabby Chic to Sell."

Back to the topic at hand. I have a wonderful friend, Abby, who has been asking for pictures of my newly themed guest room. Abby, these are for you. Enjoy everyone.

My parents gave me this beautiful coverlet set for my birthday. Pictures don't do it justice.

This is a close-up of the coverlet set with my new-to-me vintage hobnail vase complete with pink hydrangea and white peonies (my favorite). 

This is an awesome little reading table that I found over ten years ago at a garage sale. I originally gave it a mosaic table-top, but have since outfitted it with this vintage mirrored cabinet.

This is the slipcover I made while in the throws of my doughnut & Miami Ink weekend. It turned out better than expected. However, I'll  forego the pleats next time and opt for more girlish and full ruffles - I'm sure all our male guests will appreciate it. 

This is a detail of the pleating on the slipcover. 

The focal point of the room is an antique window frame (circa 1920) from my husband's family's homestead framed by white lilies.  

In the white tray beneath,  hammered glass tea light holders display vintage gold jewelry. 

Every guest room needs it's own antique Baptist hymnal.


Auf Wiedersehen, mein autobus

Last summer the hub unit and I purchased our first automobile together, a VW camper bus that was older than both of us. It was a dream come true and we envisioned spending many a summer exploring the countryside in that magnificent machine. Several memories were made there: a weekend in Bar Harbor, a geriatric dog removing the side door out of shear terror, a 22 hour drive home, bruised tail bones, a 4-hour traffic jam in NYC. Oh, the joy.

Alas, it was not meant to be. As hubby and I head West on our first real adventure this summer, we must leave der autobus behind. We were lucky when it made the 22 hour trip from Maine to our home state...but we're pretty convinced it won't survive the next go round. Okay, it would probably make it, but our backs and bums might not recover.

So, with heavy hearts and a newly revived wallet, we say Auf Wiedersehen.


Really?! I can't handle this

So, as most of you know or have read, we have been dealing with some losses as of late. Specifically, the loss of our doggy companion, Brennan, and the much larger loss of our first pregnancy.

I spent the past three days at a team building camp with 80 eighth graders and a swell group of teachers away from hubster and our other puppy companion, Carter. We were outdoors 24-7, rain or shine. We rode horses, went rock climbing, hiked, conquered ropes courses, and ate. It was a blast. Needless to say, that when I returned home last night at 9:30 after a five hour delay due to a broken down charter bus, I was exhausted. I ate dinner, talked to my Hubster and in-laws, pet my puppy, showered, and headed to bed.

This morning the Hubster and I rose late, put on some coffee, and I headed to the garage to let puppy out for his morning constitutional. To my dismay, puppy was no where to be found and there was a 2 ft. space between the garage floor and door staring me in the face. It came to mind that last night while giving puppy his good night kisses, that I must have somehow opened the door and not realized it - or mistakenly thought that I had closed the door. After a few choice words aimed at myself, Hubby and I ran to the yard and called for puppy to come home - all in vain. We hopped in our car and drove around - calling for puppy and asking neighbors - all in vain. I admit that as the tears fell and reality set in, I got mad. I know that Carter is just a dog, but to lose my dog (Brennan Girl), our baby, and then my husband's dog (Carter) in just a matter of weeks was a lot of loss. I felt numb. Then, I recollected the story of Job. It reminded me that life is full of loss and if one were to do a side by side comparison, I was much better off than Job. One thing does remain - if we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior - we can never lose Him. God is good.

We returned home, called animal control, and posted on a neighborhood forum. Then came a phone call. A gentleman asked to speak with Carter and Hubby's response was "you have Carter, this is his owner!" Come to find out, Carter's night out on the town had ended at 2AM, when a neighbor couldn't figure out what his dogs were barking at. Apparently, Carter couldn't resist the society of a few good-looking pups down the street. The neighbors were kind enough to take him in for the evening and let us sleep. Good folks.

There is certainly no other experience in the world like finding something that was once thought lost; or seeing life where only death was thought to prevail.


Our Happy Little Home


Okay, enough with the gloomy posts (and weather). Today is absolutely beautiful. In fact, it's the first nice day we have had in a few weeks - pretty enough for our realtor to come out and take photos of our home for an "online tour." The hubs and I have been working like mad to get the house ready to show for the past few months: de-cluttering, painting, mowing, cleaning, re-cleaning, more cleaning....our house has never looked this nice. It's nice to be at the point where the "ball is starting to roll."

A clean house just makes my day. I wake up happy. I go through my day feeling like I've already tackled something huge. I'm so thankful that this weekend was such a great use of time and that the results were/are so worth it.

Saturday, I spent eating doughnuts, watching Miami Ink, and draping a slip cover for a chair. I've made a slip cover once before which was a half-success. This cover, I took my time with it and draped directly onto the chair - pinning and piecing as I went. What a wonderful way to sew! The only drawback is that when your finished (and if you like the end result) you have no pattern for easy reproduction - unless, of course, you're willing to pull apart everything you have pinned...I wasn't.

Sunday, I woke up and headed out to Michael's to buy some flowers for an arrangement in our guest room. Our guest room has been less than bare for the past few years. However, my parents recently bought new bedding for this room and it totally inspired me to make this my little feminine, shabby chic, hideaway. An old window frame, mixed-and-match furniture, and a vintage hobnail vase with peonies and pink hydrangeas make a BIG difference. After tweaking my new favorite place, I set off to make the rest of my house equally as enchanting (cough) I mean clean.

I vacuumed, tidied, and scrubbed to my heart's content - and now I have a clean house. I forgot how good it feels.



For all of you in our part of the world, this is one of my favorite songs and it's been playing through my head the past few days - I can't get enough of Ms. Patty Griffin sometimes.


The seasons are changing...and so is our life

My hubby and I have had a rough few weeks and needless, to say our entire life has been thrown off balance. Balance is way overrated. Personally, I find that I do my best thinking, creating, praying, and loving when I'm in a place where something is out of sync or step. It's like a change in rhythm in the middle of a song...some people hate it...but it brings monotony to an end and makes the song come back to life.

God is so good when He brings to the point of realization that our life needs a change in rhythm. My hubby and I had been wrestling recently with what our next steps would be. What did God have? The hubs is finishing law school...my job allows a lot of flexibility...we certainly felt a call elsewhere, but what? Where? In the current economic climate it seemed to risky to even dare entertain thoughts of leaving a paying job. No, the safe, logical, responsible option was to stay put until the economy improved.

Then came the pregnancy.

Something about being pregnant. Knowing that you will be a mother or a father and realizing that that little child will receive so many life lessons simply from observing how you live, lights a fire deep inside. It'll burn you. It'll burn the very essence of you completely - if there's nothing worthy of remaining or emulating. Matt and I totally feel victim to the fire. Habits started breaking left and right. Confidence grew.

We decided that we weren't going to let ourselves become people who settled; people who were safe; people who didn't have the faith to listen, take the risk, and step out. That wasn't what we wanted for our children...why would we want it for ourselves?

Our baby was the catalyst. We jumped.

My husband applied to take the bar in a state we have never been too. I told my boss I would not be returning for the coming school year. We called a realtor and put our house on the market.

And now...we fall...we wait...we pray.

New life...here we come...here we are.


Story of a Miscarriage

I want to tell the story of losing my baby. I don't know if it's inappropriate or too personal for a blog. I don't even know if I'll ever publish this; but if I don't just get all these words out of me I might just explode.

We found out that we were pregnant on January 31, 2009. Both sets of our parents were visiting us - helping us clean our house and get it ready to put on the market. We didn't tell anyone. That day was unreal for me. Even though I was doing work - I was floating. I saw that plus sign as so many promises being fulfilled.

We waited another week and took another test. It too came out with a little plus sign and was just too wonderful to believe. We decided that day to call the grandparents and the new aunts and uncles to let them know. We would still wait a little longer to share with extended family and friends.

At 8 weeks we shared the news with our church family and our extended family. Everyone was so excited for us and we were so excited too. We had tried for a year for this baby and had been using fertility drugs for two months. This was a baby that God had promised me since I found out that I would have trouble conceiving when I was only 15. I was going to be a momma...and God was so good.

At 10 weeks we had just finished a trip to my husband's family to celebrate the marriage of his cousin. It was so wonderful. We shared the news with my husband's 93 year-old grandfather and the rest of the family. We talked about the future and our little baby. Hubby's mom even bought me a few little maternity items as I was starting to show just a little. We spent the whole drive home discussing names.

We came back home on a Monday. I started bleeding on a Tuesday and was fully miscarrying by Wednesday afternoon. It was the worse pain ever - the cramps were unbearable - almost as unbearable as knowing that I couldn't control what my body was doing to my cherished little one.

I took those moments to talk to the baby. To tell it how much Daddy and I wanted it. How sad we were that we would never meet him. I prayed for our little one and explained to the baby that God would take such better care of him than we ever could. I cried. I wept. I told the baby that any pain would end soon. It might be considered a futile act, but I needed it.

I bled through towels, sheets, clothing, our couch. Finally, I gave up and just sat naked in our bathtub. It was at this time that I passed what was recognizably our baby. It was heart-breaking, mesmerizing, and precious that God would give us the opportunity to look upon our little one just once.

I was in "active" miscarriage mode until about 4am. I just sat there for hours pushing...cleaning out my body - knowing that this was more natural and less emotionally scarring than a D&C. Hubby laid in our bed and listened to me just groan and moan. He checked on me often. He prayed and cried. I came to bed a little after 4am. I fell face down and just laid there numb to it all.

I woke up this next day - kept bleeding - kept crying. I read my bible and prayed. Hubby went and bought doughnuts and chocolate milk. We made coffee and just sat. Neither of us knowing what to say that would be of comfort. Both of us, taking our little moments to just weep. Not knowing how we were going to tell people - and immediately regretting telling them in the first place.

It's been a 2 weeks today...God is still so good.

God bless my Little Poppyseed. God bless my womb. God bless the babies to come.


Our Baby

Dear Friends & Family, 

Just as it was our joy to share with you the news of our pregnancy, it is equally our sorrow (if not more so) to share with you that Lydia suffered a miscarriage during the last few days. 

Monday, after a day of errands and light yard work, Lydia started to bleed. We went in for an ultrasound on Wednesday (10 weeks to the day) to check up on the baby. It seems that our little "poppyseed" failed to progress after the 5th week and that this pregnancy was not even viable when we shared the news with most of you. We returned home that morning and waited for the inevitable. 

We share this news now, so that we can avoid most conversations about the situation while it is still so fresh in our minds. We know God is good and we know He works all things for the good of those who love him, but it is still such a complete and full sorrow that at times it can and will be overwhelming.

We have not lost hope. We rejoice in God giving us the gift of conceiving and even still for allowing us the comfort of knowing that He now holds our baby. 

Please, continue to pray for us during this time. 

We love each and every one of you. 

L & M 

 "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, Blessed be the name of the Lord."  


Strange Things Revealed

Thanks to all of you faithful readers for making the contest so much fun. Hubby and I has a great time coming up with clues and images. And...as most of you have figured out at this point

We are having a baby!

Congratulations to our friend, Anthony, who made that guess just hours after Clue #1 was posted and officially wins bragging rights for being a blog contest "ninja". A more detailed post about the pregnancy news will follow tomorrow, but for today I wanted to explain each clue and how it pertains to our news.

Clue #1 Recap:
A cartoon picture of an alien (a mighty cute one).

Clue # 1 Revealed:
My husband thinks that all babies look like aliens & he's pretty vocal about it. I on the other hand think all babies are mighty cute.

Clue #2 Recap:
A photo of a sea monkey (or what you actually receive in the mail when you order sea monkey...I think it's some sort of shrimp).

Clue #2 Revealed:
Right now the baby still looks a bit like a sea monkey...

Clue # 3 Recap:
An Eggo waffle.

Clue #3 Revealed:
Juno quote Your eggo is preggo.

Clue #4 Recap:
A picture of an etcha-sketch and a magna-doodle.

Clue #4 Revealed:
Juno quote That ain't no etcha-sketch, sweetheart, this is one doodle that can't be undid.

Sorry, to all the folks who thought the sex of the baby was being revealed or that we were hinting at twins. I am (a) not that clever and it's (B) a wee bit early for that.

Clue #5 Recap:
An oven with a bun in it.

Clue #5 Revealed:
Well, it's a bun in the oven and I have a "bun" in my "oven."

Thanks for playing and for sharing in our excitement.


Strange Things Contest: Day 5/5

We've decided that since it is Sunday, we are going to give you guys a "two-fer." That's a "two for one deal" in "us" speak. So, You will find both the clues for days 4 and 5 below. Enjoy.

Clue #5

Strange Things Contest: Day 4/5

Clue #4


Strange Things Contest: Day 1/5

Some strange things are going on in our casa as of late (that's "house" for all you Anglos). Instead of freaking out about these new on-goings, we thought we would make a contest out of it.

The contest will be held over a period of 5 days. Each day, a new clue will be posted in the form of a picture. Using the clues (all 5 are relevant), you must post your conjectures in the comments section. You can guess as many times as you would like and don't be afraid to guess the most outlandish things you can think of.

Keep in mind as you play - we're not a business nor a corporation, so you basically win bragging rights...no moolah. Happy gaming.

Clue #1


"Hot Lips Chicken" Recipe - by popular demand

Here is the "Hot Lips Chicken" recipe mentioned in the previous post. We loved it. I can't take credit for it, as we found it on AllRecipes.com (one of our fav recipe sites). So, thanks to Patty who posted it there. Changes we made in the recipe are in dark blue. 

1 (13.5 oz.) package nacho-flavor tortilla chips, crushed. We used plain corn tortilla chips.
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked & shredded
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped  
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, chopped 
1 onion, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped. Used 2 tomatoes (but 3 would be so very tasty) 
1 (10.75 oz.) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 (10.75 oz.) can condensed cream of chicken soup 
1 (10 oz.) can hot enchilada sauce. Used mild b/c hot could not be found. It's good with mild, but hot if you like the spice.
3/4 cup water 
2 cups shredded Mexican-style cheese 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). 

Spread crushed chips in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish to form crust. Layer shredded chicken on top. In a small bowl mix together the yellow bell pepper, red bell pepper, onion and tomatoes and spread the mixture on top of the chicken. We sauteed the onions and peppers before layering on the chicken. Most reviews said that 2 minutes of baking still left the veggies a bit crunchy. In a separate bowl mix together the cram of mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup, enchilada sauce, and water. Pour this mixture over all and top with cheese. 

Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until cheese is brown and bubbly. 


The adventures of a Happy Homemaker...who happens to work outside the home

Yesterday was a "Faculty Development Day." In the past, these days were referred to as "Teacher Work Days," but this title has become misleading as for the most of the day (minus an hour for lunch) was spent sitting in meetings that were generally redundant and useless.

I left early yesterday to bring the car home to hubby. I then decided to make him some cookies (his favorite dessert). I took a chance on a recipe being an egg yolk short - it was a wrong move. I made about 3 dozen chocolate chip cookies that ended up tasting like tiny charred bricks. This is by far the worst mishap in my kitchen...EVER. My hubby will definitely get another batch of cookies (non-charred, non-bricks) soon.

While dessert turned out badly, our dinner of "Hot Lips Chicken" was fabulous. It was so easy and tasty and fresh - it will certainly enter the regular dinner rotation at our house.


Brennan Girl 
? - February 13, 2009
Good Night, Sweet Girl.




You are a good God. You are a Holy and Righteous God. You are the only God. You are the God who moves armies; The Holy one of Israel. You know us before we are born. You knit us together in the womb, you know our thoughts and our motives. Thank you.

Be with my husband today. Protect him as he travels, guard his mind and his thoughts, lead him to truth and speak to him mightily. May you be upon him. May he find favor with those he is meeting with - may he feel your move - not for his sake, Lord, but for your glory. As a testimony to your grace, provision, and love.

Lord, we know you have plans for us. Father, show us the way. May your word continually be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. May this door be surely opened or closed. Give us comfort and peace in decisions made and in the circumstances we find ourselves. Let your praises forever be on our lips and banish all doubt from our minds that.

Move mightily. We love you.




So, our pantry is bare at the moment. No, it's not because we are broke and cannot buy groceries (Mom, please don't send money). We have unfortunately found ourselves too busy to go to the grocer's. A bare pantry and a hungry tummy leads to one of two scenarios. The first of which is eating "out." Which as a child I found to be the most wonderful of "treats," but in my adulthood has become a sort of punishment and sign of failure which I would rather avoid altogether. The second option is what I will term having a "pioneer state-o-mind." One becomes inventive, using everything in their cupboard and fridge to make concoctions that are slightly more palatable than cardboard. I was a pioneer this morning.

I love oatmeal. I used to eat it every morning for breakfast. However, over the past few months (since school started) I have become accustomed to waking up later than usual. This later than usual ascent from my warm and cozy bed has led to breakfasts of granola bars, cheese sticks, a cup of coffee, the occasional doughnut - needless to say, not so great ways of starting the day. Well, this morning, I decided to pull out the oatmeal and the raisins and to make myself a nice, warm breakfast.

I've been trying to get more calcium in my diet as of late. So, as I was reading the box, I noticed that I could indeed use milk instead of water....hmmm. Curious. I was raised making oatmeal with water - certainly milk was some unnatural variation. I tried it as to not be judgmental of others' oatmeal practices. It was so stinkin' good. Creamy and warm and wonderful, it melted into my mouth like a sinful, decadent type of oatmeal that had always been scorned for it's seductive nature. Okay, that might be going a bit far. It was good and I think I might resume my daily oatmeal breakfast again.

(Okay, so maybe I wasn't such a pioneer - I didn't put the can of beans that we've had since '06 into my oatmeal concoction....but, I did make due with what we had)


Exhausted...but happy

Before the Cleaning...

Hubster's and my families came up for the weekend to help us prepare for putting our house up on the market. We have no idea where we will be this time next year and want to make sure that we don't have a house tying us down. Let me just say that Hubs and I are uber blessed. My parents came up Friday night and got a feel of what needed to be done: clean out the garage, pack up "excess" belongings, make runs to recycling centers and city dump, get yard in order, and PRAY.

We started early the next morning. Mom and I ran to Sam's Club to pick up some boxes. We were gone for an hour...and by the time we returned Dad and Matt had completely cleaned out the garage. It looked like a new house. Mom and I had to run out again for supplies and this time, by the time we got back my Pops had completely changed the shape of my yard and Hubster had cleaned our closet of shame, installed new toilet lids, and cleaned out the gutters. I'm a pretty lucky little girl.

Hubster's parents arrived and brought lunch and cookies and sweet tea. Momma J helped planted some pansies and helped me buy some much needed foilage and outdoor decor. Mr. L rake the ENTIRE yard. If you knew how much pine straw we have, you would be impressed. We had some much leaf and limb and pin straw stacked up in our yard that our elderly neighbor was a little miffed that we were waiting the 2 week period for the city to pick it up (for free).

we ended the day of extremely hard work with an early dinner. It was really lovely to have both sets of parents with us as encouragment and support. As I said, we are VERY blessed.


Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; His love endures forever

I know what you're thinking...which is a bit presumptuous of me, I admit, but work with me. You are thinking, "It's 8:30 in the morning. What could she possibly have to write about." Well, dear friends, let me explain the night and morning that I have had.

Last night, I ended my reading on Psalm 101. This makes 70 Psalms in one day. I admit this is a fast read, but I have become a voracious reader for the Word and couldn't put it down. Well, God responded. My dreams were filled with scripture - not Bible stories, but scripture. It was awesome. When I woke this morning, it brought to mind Psalm 16. "I will praise the Lord who guides me; in the night also my heart instructs me." I'm glad to know that God even guides me and instructs me as I sleep. I need all the time with Him I can get.

Anyhow, back to this morning. I hopped in my car and started the drive to work. Not 2 miles from my house; I witnessed a 3 car accident as it happened. One car drifted into the median, over corrected and was hit by another car, which was hit by another oncoming car. All within seconds. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Almost automatically, I pulled over, jumped out of my car and ran to help those who were hurt. Thankfully, folks who had cellphones were already on the phones with 911. When all was said and done, I went back to my car and continued onto school. Thank God for safety. Thank God everyone was okay.

Now, if my back would just relax and realize that what we did today was a good thing and not a reason to freak out.


Pray for us

We are looking into the abyss.
We don't know whether to jump or to remain.
We have shaking hands, shaken faith.
We see nothing but a "hopeless" future confront us.

We know God is the great "I Am"
We know that He is our Father.
We know that He will take care of us.
We know that even if He breaks us, He will mend us.

**Pray for hubs and me. That God would increase our faith, remove our doubt, and give us eyes to see the unforeseeable. **


Bible Reading Update

Currently at Job 13. Everyone is always talking about how Job is a "downer." I really like it so far. Job has faith and knows that everything comes from God's hand, whether good or "bad" (and that the "bad" will indeed work for our good), which is an attitude or posture we should all seek to emulate.

Job 1:21 
"Naked, I came from my mother's womb and naked, shall I return. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."

I hate packing...going crazy as a result

So, hubs and I are getting ready for the big unknown. Hubs is currently looking for a job outside of our grande 'ole state (as am I - sort of), we're getting our house ready to put on the market, and of course, packing up the homestead. Did I mention that we have absolutely NO idea what we're doing.

Moving has never been difficult for me - well, my Mom would probably tell you otherwise. Growing up as an ARMY brat, moving was a part of life, the natural course of events, like breathing or summers in Aspen...it was just...well...normal. Granted, every move came with it's challenges: finding a school, trying to catch up or stay interested when curriculums & school schedules didn't match up, making new friends, keeping the old, learning road names, learning new languages and most importantly - nevermind - it's all pretty much important. 

See, I'm a slash and burn kind of mover. Don't need it, trash it. I'm not gonna hold onto much. If everything but those dried roses from my senior prom fits into the box, then "bye-bye roses." I see no point in holding onto the old. Isn't that what moving is about - moving on? 

As we begin to pack up our house (our very first house), I'm beginning to feel the need for a machete and a blow torch. I used to be able to pack myself in like 5 hours flat, but after acquiring a husband, 2 dogs, a house, furniture for said house...and a garage full of junk, I fear this packing thing might last ages. Add the injury to my back a few months (years) ago and it seems like a better idea to just stay put. I hate packing. 

Maybe we'll just sell the house fully furnished? 


Big Goals: Before I'm Older

I have a birthday coming up. It's not a milestone birthday or anything, but I think that it beckons to me from afar calling my attention to the ever present fact that I am (if I have not already been for some years) embarking on the journey of adulthood. I'm not referring to the "Hey, I'm twenty-one, so I must be an adult now" brand of adulthood, but the "I should really start acting my age and showing real signs of maturity" adulthood. This is a pretty heavy thought process.

In preparation for this not-so-important-and-yet-increasingly-so birthday I have made a few goals. Here they are:

1) Read the Bible in it's entirety. I'm up to 2 Chronicles.

2) Sew a dress (all by myself) and wear it. You can see it below.

Yep - that's about it. I have very low expectations for adulthood.


Death in the Morning

This morning started off like any other morning. I woke up, swung my legs over the edge of the bed and into the cold morning. I dressed, poured my cup of coffee, kissed my husband good-bye, and went on my way. The drive to work was mundane. I arrived and saw that the lake at school was frozen over. I walked through the brisk air towards my office, smiling at the students (old and new) that passed me. I talked to colleagues and children, witnessed a beautiful piano performance at assembly...made my way up to my office.

And there he was.

One perfect little mole. Scampering about the classroom - relishing the warmth. I recruited a few other teachers to help me retrieve "little mole," knowing that the scene would turn into utter chaos if witnessed by our students. And then it happened, the bucket fell and "little mole" was too fast in trying to escape. It hit his spinal chord and killed him instantly.

How sad. I know that moles are considered pests, but they are so beautiful. It was another moment when I could appreciate God's littlest creations...even if when he came near my pant leg, I screamed like a girl.


The Need to Runaway

We had a great weekend. We forgot the camera - so, unfortunately, there are no pictures. We drove to Asheville, NC and spent the weekend walking around, window shopping, sleeping in, watching television, sitting in the hot tub, and eating. We had a great time. It was freezing (but good).

Since, it was a really uneventful weekend and I have nothing else to write about it, here are my food recommendations if ever you find yourself in this part of the country.

Salsa's: Great Puerto Rican fare that is so fresh! If they run out midday of salsa ingredients, they wing it and use zucchini and peppers. We both loves our sides, but our main dishes sported jerk and curry flavors that we weren't ready for.

Tupelo Honey: Awesome. Get the hormone-free sausage and the grits. Tastiness.

Barley's Taproom and Pizzaria: Alright pizza - great mood.

The Pub (I have no idea what it's reallly called): Good pub food. we honestly just went there for an appetizer. Tasty homemade salsa.

The French Broad Chocolate Lounge: Our new favorite place. They serve our fave, Counter Culture Coffee and have an awesome selection of desserts. We both tasted the carrot cake (yum), the ginger molasses cookie dipped in a dark chocolate (not as good as mine - but tasty), and hubster tried a stout float...a beer float....I mean, kind of weird - he said it was "interesting."

We had a great time, relaxed, and talked about the future. But, now, I'm back at work on a Tuesday and again, feel the need to runaway.


Getting Away

I'm excited. This weekend the hubby and I are getting away, just the two of us, for the first time in a long time. We're heading about three hours north to a place that we have never been. The only plans that we have made are (1) to actually secure a place to sleep and (2) that skiing might have to happen one of the days that we are there.

Hubby and I love to travel, but we find so little opportunity to as a result of his and my own school schedules and other obligations. This was one of those rare occasions when we simply decided to chuck it all, hire the dog sitter, and run away. Very spontaneous - very much a godsend.

So, if you wonder where I am this weekend - when I fail to blog or fail to read/comment on your blogs. You can be 90% certain that I am snuggled up next to my husband in a king-size bed watching TV and eating takeout after a long day of skiing. I honestly don't think it can get any better than that!

Have a great weekend, Everybody!


Only 24 in a day?

My days and nights have become increasingly more busy. During my days, I have had more and more responsibilities put upon me by those around me - for which, I am not compensated or even thanked. During the evening, some of these "day duties" will invade and then I am still left with my several projects, household chores, and oh yeah the things I actually want to do.

How do I do it all? How do I even come close? I know, of course, that this feeling will pass. But, it's currently pretty overwhelming.

Here's to a obligation-free Friday evening that I can spend "catching-up" with life. 



Un-decking the Halls

Today, I am taking our Christmas decorations down and I have to admit, it makes me just a little sad. I love the way our house feels more like a home during the Christmas season. It just seems warmer.

My sister mentioned in passing over the holiday break, that she has never seen our home at Christmas - as we always meet at my parents' home. So, I've posted some pictures of our house - before the de-decking madness ensues.


Every candy dish has been full for the last few months. 

My mini-sled...with some important cargo.

My Gourd-snowman and pine cones. 

A new wooden star for hanging...and an old peace sign in hope.

One of the stockings I knit for our little family this year...I think this one is hubby's. 
They look exactly the same, so it's hard to tell.

This is my Santa "collection." It didn't really dawn on me that I even collected Santa figures until Hubster's and my first Christmas together...He pointed it out. 

This is our Christmas 2008 ornament from Hubby's side of the family. 
It's very nature-themed and country looking...which is pretty much "us."

Our Star

Christmas 2008 ornament from my family...to remember the insane gas prices.

Hubby's gift to me. We don't do Christmas day gifts for one another. 
He bought me this card. It was absolutely the best gift ever.

Our tree. 

My sweet mother-in-law purchased me a subscription to Southern Living for Christmas. 
In it, I saw all these beautiful doorways with greenery. 
I was inspired and used my greenery as a card display
(which I had been searching for for weeks).

Cute, kitchen hand towels from one of my students. They make me happy.

Our very non-traditional, but simple Advent wreath. 

My table stayed set like this for most of the Christmas season. I felt like such a good homemaker.


The Zoo

This morning, and several recent mornings in fact, I have had the privilege of observing the neighborhood deer. He was a beautiful, young stag. He was running through the brush and I found myself (even for just one moment) captivated by the beauty in which his body moved. It was breath-taking. I realized what a rare moment it was that to have the privilege of seeing God's creations in their own environment. Most often, I see sad animals in zoos and wild life refuges. How this is in no way the same as seeing an animal free from constraint and the difference between the two sights is nothing short of amazing. It made me a little sad as I realized many of these ancients have witnessed an encroaching human presence. It made me laugh to think that indeed this particular stag had came to visit me in the human zoo this morning.

As I reflect on this, I am hoping to spend my day treating the animals I encounter more like God's creations and the people that I encounter, less like animals.